Digital Regenerative Agriculture

Analysis of the potential synergies and tensions around regenerative agriculture and digital agriculture. Although the regenerative aspects appear to be limited to biophysical ones, the authors provide a useful framing between these trends and their respective demands.

Abstract: "Intergovernmental organisations are pushing for ecological renewal with ever-increasing urgency. The trinity of Precision, Digital, and Smart (Ag 4.0) Agriculture encapsulate the tools best positioned to quantify the contributions farmscapes make towards these ends. However, work under these banners to date has rested on productivity and efficiency. Limiting negative environmental outcomes, when acknowledged as an objective, is most often presented as possible through ex-post evaluations. Conversely, Regenerative Agriculture champions environmental renewal as the pathway to more resilient and consistent production systems but currently lacks scientific validation. A synergy of the two will enhance both by (i) developing data on environmentally forward systems, (ii) presenting new challenges for monitoring, and (iii) by laying a foundation for the farmer-led data-driven site-specific refinement of management systems that prioritise outcomes for production through enhanced environmental function. All of which, when passed through a digital supply chain, will contribute substantially to product provenance and, in turn, consumer confidence."

By: Tom O’Donoghue,Budiman Minasny & Alex McBratney

Published in NPJ Sustainable Agriculture.